The British political system is bankrupt (and in good company)

The Queen, who by tradition does not comment on politics, is quoted as saying that the political class is incapable of governing.  Amen to that.

Robert Unger, a philosopher at Harvard, says that European politicians don’t know how to do anything apart from splitting the difference, and are incapable of facing up to fundamental problems.  This leaves an opening to nationalist populists, who know even less and have nothing to offer that is constructive, but know which resentment buttons to push.

Unger wants a radical transfer of power and money to people and places far from Westminster, so that they can try their own social and economic experiments, in contrast to the current busted economic and governing model. He believes this would revivify national politics. Centralisation has been a massive failure.

At the moment the UK is in existential crisis (per Michel Barnier). The institutions, the economy and the system of representation are being shown up to be no longer fit for their tasks.   During the recent election the two main parties each took less than a quarter of all the potential votes (you wouldn’t know it listening to the business-as-usual speeches of the Prime Minister).  Old codgers continue to vote for business as usual, and, of course, Brexit, the results of which they arguably won’t live long enough to endure.

London-centric politicians starve the provinces of cash and sit on anything that smells of political imagination.  Disabled people, for instance, are apparently of no interest to the government. They are left hungry, housebound and ignored. There are few people who are capable of re-imagining what the state and the economy are for.  Instead the country is stuck in old battles over who gets what subsidies and which clique runs everything.  Nothing is forthcoming from the Labour Party, run by a man stuck firmly in the socialist mind-frame of the 1950s.  You can get by with the tired approach to governing while most people are getting richer, but after a decade of no wage growth and benefits going to the 1%, things will get even more toxic unless we clear out the two irrelevant main political parties and see what ideas the local yokels can make work. (sparked off by a Guardian article on 7 June 2019)

Followers of Epicurus are not supposed to get involved, or take a particular interest, in politics.  But we face an existential crisis, even the break-up of the “United” Kingdom.  This cannot be ignored by responsible and thoughtful people.  Devolution of power seems a sensible answer to at least some of the problems, if you can get citizens actually motivated and involved.

And now the Prime Minister wants to prorogue (i.e suspend) Parliament so that he can ram through a No-deal Brexit.  How does that distinguish him from any other run-of-the-mill petty autocrat?  And in case I am criticized for being too political, I have five grandchildren and want the peace of mind of knowing that their lives are is going to be at least as happy and secure as mine.


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